Thanks for everyone's input. Waccamatt, your page is a great way to get to know Columbia - I enjoyed looking at all the neighborhood pics. I know that older homes require a lot of upkeep, but I still want one! At least know what we are getting into because we both deal with these issues at work every day, and we are skilled enough to do some of the work (window and woodwork restoration, plaster repair, etc.) ourselves.
For those of you who mentioned Rosewood and Elmwood Park - I'm finding homes in those neighborhoods and in Earlewood for $200,000 - $250,000 - what are your opinions about the makeup of those neighborhoods? I live in a very diverse neighborhood in Chicago (Logan Square), and I like that aspect of living in the city. Are there active community/neighborhood organizations?
Thanks again for your help.